Building Stronger Foundations

Submission cover sheet

  • Name of organisation or individual making this submission

    SPAD Consulting Engineers

  • Authorised delegate/contact person

    Paheer Paheerathan

  • Position


  • Organisation


Questions on possible options

  1. What kind of plans should be signed off and declared by a statutory declaration?

    Before responding to these questions I would like to note that the proposed declarations would not have prevented the use of flammable cladding. The way to prevent such issues would be to stipulate a stringent testing requirement for the acceptance of any new material or proprietary products. This should apply to any change of materials or structural systems. Now to respond to the question: 1. The complete CC documents should have the declaration. 2. Plans of any major changes should be declared with appropriate certificates and test reports. 3. At the end of the project the As-built and Work As Excequted Drawings. Any changes to the original CC drawings can be allowed only if the process to the changes has been properly certified during the construction phase. The design team members should provide design certificates that list the drawings, and not Statutory Declaration (StatDec). Use of StatDec is a ridiculous suggestion. Up to now, the design consultants have been sued based on their certificates and drawings and no courts considered the lack of StatDec as an issue. StatDec could be appropriate for builders specialist contractors. Instead of StatDec the Building Commissioner can have specific forms similar to Form 15 used by RPEQ Queensland.

  2. Should a statutory declaration accompany all variations to plans or only major variations?

    Only Major variations should be submitted with revised plans specifications and declaration and certificates. Any projects big or small would have quite a few insignificant variations. The problem is how to define major variation. Following criteria can be used. 1. Changes relating to fire-wall and external fabric. 2. Changes to structural configuration and or system. 3. Changes to disabled access and fire escape.

  3. How should plans be provided to, or accessed by, the Building Commissioner?

    An electronic format in PDF accompanied with design certificates (NOT statdec).

  4. In what circumstances would it be difficult to document performance solutions and their compliance with the BCA?

    No Comments.

  5. What would the process for declaring that a building complies with its plans look like?

    The process should a) include all relevant parties that are involved during the construction phase b) each party should declare (certify) their component of the works, c) builders should be responsible to collate the declarations submitted by the subcontractors, and d) the Principal Certifier should compile all the declarations and issue the final declaration or Occupation Certificate. For this process to work, a detailed Inspection Test Plan (ITP) should be prepared by respective building designers. ITP should form a part of the construction document. Relevant sections of the ITP should be displayed on the respective drawing sheets and not hidden away in bulky contract specifications. The reason is that every tradesperson who uses the drawings would be aware of the ITP. The parties responsible for the compliance to the plan are: 1. The builder 2. The shop detailers. 3. Suppliers of certified proprietary materials. 4. Specialist Contractors. 5. The consulting bodies that are responsible for inspecting the works, testing and reviewing.

  6. What kind of role should builders play in declaring final building work?

    The declaration is feasible only if the construction complied with the construction documents and specifications. Therefore the focus should be on compliance and not a declaration. The progressive demonstration of compliance should form the main component of the declaration. The building contract and or the legislation should require the builder to a) demonstrate compliance to plans and b) ensure adherence to the ITP. Effectively the builder will be forced to ensure that a) the checking regiment is active and b) the subcontractors issue the necessary declaration and certificates. The current system requires the building professional to police builders activity. That is not effective because the builder is closer to the works and he/she would be best placed to follow up and chase the compliance machinery.

  7. Which builders involved in building work should be responsible for signing off on buildings?

    The Main Builder The specialist contractors Key tradespersons such as plumbers, installers of handrailing,

  8. Are existing licensing regimes appropriate to be accepted as registration for some builders and building designers, such as architects, for the new scheme?

    For Engineers, the existing National Engineers Register (NER) maintained by Engineers Australia (EA) is appropriate and of good standing thus is acceptable. This is nationally (and in some cases internationally). A new registry for Engineers by NSW would be a mere duplication and an absolute waste. For Architects, a similar approach could be adopted. What is important is that all buildings whether commercial or residential should only be designed by qualified architects and not draftspersons or non-qualified groups. The builders and tradespersons should be licensed and or registered. What is important is that the builders for both commercial and residential projects should have appropriate license and registration. Currently, there is no requirement for those who undertake commercial buildings.

  9. What should be the minimum requirements for a registration scheme?

  10. What form of insurance should be mandatory for ‘building designers’? Why?

    The current form of i) Professional Indemnity Insurance and ii) Public Liability Insurance should be mandatory for all the building designers. Loss of revenue and direct & indirect Consequential damages should be excluded from the cover. If not the premium of the insurance would be exorbitant and the system would become unworkable. As an additional measure, vexatious claims should be deterred. The way to discourage is to penalise the claimant and their LEGAL team. The purpose of this measure is to prevent insurance premiums skyrocketing.

  11. What kinds of minimum requirements should be prescribed for the insurance policy (for example, value, length of cover, etc.)?

    See above.

  12. What skills should be mandatory for ‘building designers’?

    The minimum skills and qualifications for building designers who can declare and or certify the documents are as follows: Full membership of their respective professional institution. Example: Chartered Engineer of Engineers Australia. and NER. Should have a minimum of three (3) years of post-charter experience in their field of work or a minimum of 8 years of work experience in their profession. Should have a minimum of three years working in the design office.

  13. Which categories of building practitioners should owe a duty of care?

  14. What should be the scope of the duty of care? Should it apply to all or certain types of work? If so, which work?

  15. What types of consumers should be owed a duty of care?

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